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The forecast calls for a 100% chance of brainy skies! Keep those thoughts flowing with your inspiration condensation from above. I made the brainstorm to store a classroom full or projects and inspire new ones, but whether your weather is for a maker space, the crib, or the office, the Brainstorm Mobile is just lovely for the thinker tinkerer in us all. Now you can plan a pretty picnic, and you can predict the weather, too.

  • What: BrainStorm Mobile
  • Where: Starting in the west, and moving eastward by mid-afternoon
  • Time: ~ 1 hour to make
  • Cost: ~ $15 (mostly stuffing)
  • Materials:
    • Old bike wheel (we got from a bike shop for free)
    • Strong cord (for hanging storm)
    • Stuffing (lots of it!)
    • Fishing line
    • Carabiner (or other fasteners)
    • Rubber bands
    • Yellow paper (optional)
  • Tools:
    • Scissors
    • Hot glue gun / hot glue

And now, Step 1 with the weather!

Step 1: Elevate Your Frame

Use your cord to wrap around something up above (be safe!) and suspend your bike wheel in the air. Tie a knot through the spokes so that your bike wheel hangs roughly parallel to the ground. Cut the string, and tie the other end on, so that you can work with your suspended cloud.

Step 2: Fluffify Your Wheel!

Add some puff to your cloud by pressing in stuffing through the spokes. You can hot glue sporadically to keep keep tufts together throughout. Start with puffing up the top of your bike wheel where it will be easier.

Step 3: Add Fluff to Sides and Bottom

Tie one end of the fishing line to a spoke, and add stuffing to the sides and bottom of the wheel all the while wrapping fishing line around. You'll end up making quite the dense web of fishing line, which is great as it's nearly invisible and great at supporting. When you feel like you've made a puffy cloud, cut the fishing line and tie to a spoke to complete it. Looking good so far, cloud!

Step 4: Adding the Raindrops

For each line of raindrops, tie a length of fishing line to the spokes. You'll have to reach up into the fluffiness of your new cloud to do this. On the other end, tie a carabiner and add some hot glue to the knot to keep it in place. Then add drips of hot glue along the fishing line for a neat raindrop effect.

Add other lines of raindrops randomly around your wheel, and at different lengths to give it a whimsical feel.

Step 5: Optional: Lightning Bolts

If the feeling strikes you, add some lightning bolts to your superstorm. Cut some yellow paper into lightning bolts and glue or tie them up into your cloud. They add a nice slash of color up there, and are pretty fun.

Step 6: Attach Your Projects!

The Brainstorm can hold just about anything. An easy way to attach projects is via rubber bands around them. With a little looping method, you attach the rubber bands securely into the carabiners. You can also add anything else, be it paintings, notes, inspirations for other projects, grocery lists, the works!

It's fun to have an ever-changing collection in the brainstorm based on what's going on that day. After all, you get to control this weather.

Step 7: Brainstorm!

Make it storm! Make it spin! Add LEDs for an evening glow. Pull it up high or leave it hanging low. Anything goes that you can brainstorm up!

I would love to see your brainstorms when you make them! Post them here if you get a chance! As always, keep exploring and have a great one.

Sounds fun
<p>fun!</p>

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Bio: The Oakland Toy Lab is a community-based wonder lab for students to build, tinker, explore, make, break, and learn! We are writing up engaging science ... More »
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